Saying No to Plastic

500 million single-use plastic straws are used in the US everyday. Many organizations across the country have been working for years to raise awareness about the impacts of single-use plastic straws on the environment. This year Seattle hosted the first city-wide campaign, called Strawless in Seattle, to help remove single-use plastic straws from the US waste stream. Here at SMEA the Student Environmental Affairs Society (SEAS) and Currents Blog Teams joined forces to sponsor #StrawlessSMEA; a challenge to SMEA students and faculty to say NO! 

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Researchers’ experiences at sea

SMEA graduate students Kaitlin Lebon and Katie Keil each contributed pieces to a series for the student blog Currents illustrating researchers’ experiences at sea. Lebon’s piece takes an inside look at field science in the Arctic through Kylie Welch— a Faculty Research Assistant with the Goñi Lab at Oregon State University. Keil’s piece describes her own experiences on the University of Washington’s R/V Clifford A Barnes to collect water chemistry parameters, various plankton samples, and krill. 

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Lessons from beavers

Congratulations to Professor Cleo Woefle-Erskine! His paper The watershed body: Transgressing frontiers in riverine sciences, planning stochastic multispecies worlds, was recently featured in a landmark special double issue of Catalyst: Feminism and Technoscience. The paper explores how beaver modify landscapes differently than human engineers, and how human engineering might be transformed through riverine collaborations with beavers.
Read the complete paper: 

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9 days, 50+ miles, and the time of my life

Written by: Katie Keil
Although my summer was already comically overbooked with a month-long summer course at Friday Harbor Labs, two nine day research cruises for my thesis, and a trip back home, when Dr. Tim Billo invited me to join him in teaching a backpacking course, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. I rescheduled my flight home, and started preparations for ENVIR 495C, Landscape Changes in the Pacific Northwest – an interdisciplinary ecology and environmental philosophy course taught through the lens of a 9-day backpacking trip in Olympic National Park. 

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Q & A with Dr. Cleo Woelfle-Erskine

How did you decide to become a professor?
I’ve always loved teaching, and before graduate school taught environmental science and geography to K-12 students, and home graywater system installation and rainwater harvesting to adults. In graduate school, I discovered I love research as well, and realized I could combine research, teaching, mentoring students, and community-engaged research as a professor.
What do you like most about your work? 

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Preserving the reefs of Palau

Research Assistant Professor Yoshitaka Ota and co-authors recently published an article in Marine Policy titled “Ecotourism, climate change and reef fish consumption in Palau: Benefits, trade-offs and adaptation strategies.” The study found that reducing tourist consumption of reef fish is critical for Palau’s ocean sustainability. As Ota stated in a press-release from the Nereus program “The ocean is central to Palau’s life and customs; their seafood consumption must be maintained sustainably. 

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Adventures in Indonesia

Written by: Allie Sifrit
Hello all!
My name is Allie Sifrit and I am just starting my second year at SMEA! However, I will actually be in Indonesia for the beginning of the school year! I am currently collecting data for my thesis. My research is on the stakeholder perceptions of compliance to marine protected area regulations in Maluku, Indonesia. I am working alongside a project from USAID called the Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced Project and the director of this project is one of SMEA’s affiliate faculty members: Dr. 

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Q & A With Charlene Vasquez

Why did you decide to pursue a Master of Marine Affairs?
I have always loved the ocean and I earned my undergraduate degree in marine biology. Moving forward I wanted to learn how to protect the ocean, so after looking into possible degrees, earning my degree in marine affairs seemed like a great choice.
Why did you decide to come to UW’s SMEA for graduate school? 

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Jardine awarded National Science Foundation grant

Congratulations to SMEA Professor Sunny Jardine and her co-PIs, who were recently awarded a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to study links among people, lakes, and fish in the Northern Highland Lake District in Wisconsin. The four-year project will involve a team of 15 collaborators representing nine research institutions and conservation agencies. Along with Professor Jardine, co-leading principal investigators include Christopher Solomon of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Marco Janssen of Arizona State University, Olaf Jensen of Rutgers University, and Stuart Jones of the University of Notre Dame. 

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Hershman Fellowship Awardees

Congratulations to recent SMEA grads and students Sara Brostrom, Haley Kennard and Marisa Nixon who were all awarded Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellowships! Hershman fellows are teamed with mentors in state government or an NGO host office in Olympia, Tacoma or Seattle, working on ocean and coastal science and management issues for one year. This year’s host offices are The Nature Conservancy, Makah Office of Tribal Affairs and Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health. 

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